Friday, September 21, 2012

Ferry Bluff on the Wisconsin River

Yesterday I visited Ferry Bluff on the Wisconsin River west of Sauk City with assorted nephews, nieces, in-laws, and out-laws. It was a beautiful day and the first time all summer that I have done any hiking (even though it was a fairly short hike). It was good to be able to tag along with the rest of the family and visit a spot that my brother-in-law, Douglas Clark, loved to visit. He would have enjoyed the trip.

David Clark, Julee Kowallis, Steven Clark, Karen Clark, Adrienne Celt, Kimberly Madison, Rachel Robinson, Ryan Clark, Aaron Robinson, Karl Kowallis standing atop Ferry Bluff.

Looking west along the Wisconsin River from Ferry Bluff.

 Sandbar across the Wisconsin River south of Ferry Bluff.

Late summer asters in bloom along the sandstone outcrops of the bluffs.

The Wisconsin River from Ferry Bluff, looking to the east.

Cross-bedded Cambrian sandstones underlie the bluffs and are exposed here because the ice-age glaciers that covered most of Wisconsin did not cover this area, known as the "driftless area."

Bright lichens on a juniper tree atop the bluffs.

Wild grape vines lit by the late summer sun.

Blue harebells grow well in the sandy soil on top of the bluff.

This year's drought has stressed many of the trees including this oak that is trying its best to show its colors for fall even with many of the leaves half dead.

The boardwalk atop the bluff is knotted together with rope.

 Juniper roots are exposed in places along the sandy top of the bluffs.

The vertical tubes on this face of the weathered sandstones of Ferry Bluff were made by ancient animals that burrowed into the sand along the Cambrian sea.

Ferry Bluffs is truly a beautiful place and well worth the time to visit.

Map showing the location of Ferry Bluff with Sauk City to the northeast along the Wisconsin River.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Late Summer in the Garden

Now that my ankle has finally healed up from surgery in mid-June, I was able to get out and take a few photos of the garden. Even though I couldn't do much in the middle of the summer and even though there were a few more weeds allowed to grow this year, it was still one of the best summers for gardening in Utah. 

 Flowers in the front garden. Zinnias were planted from seed and petunias from hothouse starts.

 Hollyhocks blooming for the second time in September after being cut back in late July.

 Jalapeno peppers have added flavor and heat to our summer salsa.

Marigolds grown from seeds extracted from last years plants bloomed just as profusely this year.

These zinnias were also grown from seeds taken from last years plants and gave me lots of variety with tall ones, short ones, singles and doubles.

 Petunias have thrived in the rich compost we added to the soil this year.

 Fall raspberries are better usually than the ones that ripened in June. They seem to love the cooler nights of the late summer.

 2012 will be remembered as the summer of the best tomatoes in our garden. They were planted earlier, produced earlier, and tasted better than any I remember.

Romas also produced well this year. This variety tend to ripen pretty much all at once and give a nice crop for making sauces.

 The grape vines produced a heavy load this year. Unfortunately, with all the racoons and birds we have around the yard, we never seem to get to eat any ourselves. This bunch is just starting to get sweet and before they fully ripen will be devoured by the critters before we can pick them.

 One of my favorite crops...tomatillos. They are so easy to grow and make wonderful salsa and soup. I never have to plant them any more. I just let a few sprout up from last years seeds that get tilled under in the spring.

 The bees were going crazy out in the garden the day I took these pictures. They are obviously storing up for the winter ahead.

 I'm going to have to adjust the water that gets to my blackberries because they are a little bit small. But they are very sweet, nonetheless.

 My two crops of corn planted about a month apart meant that we had corn out of the garden from mid-July until September. Both crops were delicious, but I'd have to say that the second crop was the best.

I planted my cucumbers in a pile of compost and they went crazy this year. These English cukes are so sweet, without even a hint of bitterness, that I don't even bother to peel them most of the time.